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Image: Tesla

Cumulative global sales of electric vehicles, not including e-buses, are about to pass the 4 million-mark in the next few days, according to a new report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance – and the latest million was notched up in just six months.

The report, and the graphs within it, paint a picture of the eye-catching trajectory electric vehicles are currently on – if not yet in Australia, in a growing number of countries around the world, led by China.

After reaching the first million sales in 2015 over the course of around 60 months, the time it takes to reach each consecutive million electric vehicles sold has gone from 17 months for the second million, to 10 months to get to 3 million.

By the start of 2018 – when the three-millionth EV was sold – around 35 per cent of cumulative EV sales were in China, and it took only six months to chalk up 4 million globally.

BNEF now expect the next million sales of EVs to take just over 6 months, with the five-millionth forecast to be sold in March 2019.

“At the end of June 2018 there were more than 3.5 million passenger EVs sold globally and about 421,000 e-buses, bringing the total cumulative EVs sold to 3.97 million,” the 3Q 2018 Global Electrified Transport Market Outlook report says.

As noted above, China played a major role in reaching this milestone, and is responsible for around 37 per cent of passenger EV sales since 2011 and for about 99 per cent of the e-buses.

An increase in the number of EV models being produced by different car makers is also speeding things up – and particularly electric cars in the median price range.

Bloomberg NEF says it expected the Tesla Model 3 to arrive in Europe in mid-2019, which will likely boost sales there, while China’s so-called NEV quota kicks in in 2019 and will also push sales forward.

What this means for Australia remains to be seen – we had as few as five different all-electric models to choose from as recently as March this year. But the new Nissan Leaf is due to be unveiled here soon and Hyundai is gearing up for the launch of its Ioniq electric range in the next month.

Of upcoming EV sales, BNEF says it expects just under half – 42 per cent – to be in China, while Europe is forecast to contribute 26 per cent and North America 25 per cent.

And if Tesla Model 3 sales continue to accelerate, North America could also catch up with Europe, where roughly 1.3 million EVs are expected to be sold by next March.

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